If there was a contest for the best Halloween decor of 2020, this New York dad’s brilliant creation would surely bag the top award.
A few years back, Tony DeMatteo’s 13-year-old daughter asked if they could do a “Pirates of the Caribbean” themed Halloween. The good dad obliged and designed a small pirate ship for her.
But this year, DeMatteo went all out and built a more massive and elaborate pirate ship that is 50-foot long and 20-foot tall. It’s made from recycled metal, wood, and rope and is complete with black pirate flags and a huge skeleton. It’s now displayed in the facade of his home in Churchville.
Building detailed Halloween decor like this is something that he enjoys doing, so DeMatteo didn’t mind putting in that much time and money into the project.
“I’m a big fan of Halloween,” he told FOX TV Stations. “It’s been growing bigger and bigger each year. I always try to out-do myself.”
And all that effort proved to be worth it. DeMatteo shared that all his three kids loved the ship.
“They help me build it. They play on it, and they like the attention they get too,” he said. “I really don’t have a background in this. I just do it for fun.”
DeMatteo shared pictures and videos of the pirate ship on Facebook, showing off its special effects: six cannons that light up, a fog machine, and even fire blasters. He also put together a soundtrack that synchronizes with the cannons and fire blasters.
The vessel might look expensive, but DeMatteo said it’s not – it only cost him about $3,000 to build. He got all the wood he used for free over a year, and he accumulated most of the other materials over time.
“It takes a lot of time, but it’s not so much work, when you’re having fun,” he said.
His social media posts have gone viral, and DeMatteo said he’s “incredibly surprised” by the public’s response to his work. He didn’t expect that people were going to like it this much.
DeMatteo also found a way to use this Halloween decoration for a greater cause. Touring the pirate ship is free, but he asks every guest to donate non-perishable canned goods for the Open Door Mission, a food pantry in Rochester that helps feed people in need.
So far, the response to his request has been great. His garage is now full of donations, and many are still coming.
DeMatteo hasn’t come up with an idea just yet for next year’s Halloween. However, he feels that he will let the pirate ship theme lay to rest for 2021.
“We’re already thinking about next year,” he said. “But, I don’t have a solid idea yet. I probably won’t do a pirate ship again unless I get some sort of overwhelming feedback that we should.”
And speaking of Halloween, another dad from Iowa made this holiday more epic for his 12-year-old daughter.
Greg Dietzenbach, 42, built an all too familiar costume for Ada: a Zoom interface costume!
“Due to COVID-19 we didn’t even know if our town would have trick-or-treating this year. Social distancing has made my kids Zoom experts, it’s how they attended school and see family and friends. It felt like it was a costume idea worth exploring,” he explained. “2020 has been tough, it’s nice to know we’ll be giving some joy to others (at a safe distance of course).”
Dietzenbach works for a company that builds corporate environments and museums, so he used his fancy work tools to recreate an ongoing Zoom meeting.
These creative fathers definitely get our vote for the dad of the year award!